Health And Fitness

Sickle Cell Anemia: Types, Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Sickle cell anemia is an inherited disorder of red blood cells, or sickle cell disease (SCD) (RBCs). RBCs are typically shaped like disks, allowing them the ability to pass across even the shortest blood vessels. With this disorder, nevertheless, the RBCs have an irregular crescent shape that resembles a sickle. This makes them sticky, stiff, and vulnerable to being stuck in tiny vessels that block blood from reaching various parts of the body. Pressure and tissue destruction can be caused by this.

Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is a recessive autosomal disorder. On the part of the causes of sickle cell anemia, you need two copies of the gene to have the disorder. You are presumed to have a sickle cell trait if you have only one copy of the gene.

Symptoms of Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia signs typically start up at a young age. They can occur as early as 4 months of age in kids, but normally occur about the 6-month mark. While there are different forms of SCD, all of them have identical manifestations that differ in intensity. They encompass:

♦ Anemia

Sickle cells quickly split apart and die, leaving very few red blood cells at your disposal. Typically, red blood cells live for about 120 days until they have to be substituted. Yet sickle cells typically die within 10 to 20 days, leaving a red blood cell shortfall (anemia).

♦ Swelling

Of the most common sickle cell anemia symptoms, swelling of hands and feet is another symptom. The swelling is triggered by red blood cells, sickle-shaped, that obstruct blood circulation to the hands and feet.

♦ Episodic Pain

A significant symptom of sickle cell disorder is periodical bouts of pain, called pain crises. When sickle-shaped red blood cells block blood transport to your chest, abdomen and joints through tiny blood vessels, pain occurs. Pain may occur in your bones as well.

♦ Delayed Growth

The oxygen and nutrients required for growth are given to your body by red blood cells. In infants and kids, a lack of healthy red blood cells can delay development and delay puberty in teenagers.

♦ Frequent Infections

Sickle cells can cause spleen destruction, making you more prone to infections. Doctors typically offer vaccines and antibiotics to newborns and kids with sickle cell syndrome to avoid potential life infections, like pneumonia.

♦ Vision Complications

Sickle cells can be inserted into tiny blood vessels which supply your eyes. This can harm the retina, the part of the eye that handles visual information, and relate to issues with vision.

People Who are at Risk

Kids are only at risk for sickle cell disease if the sickle cell gene is inherited by both parents. A blood test named electrophoresis of hemoglobin may also assess the form you may bring. It is more probable that individuals from areas that have endemic malaria are carriers. This includes people from Africa, India, Mediterranean and Saudi Arabia.

Types of Sickle Cell Anemia

The protein in red blood cells that contains oxygen is hemoglobin. It usually has two chains of alpha and two chains of beta. Different mutations in these genes are responsible for the four major forms of sickle cell disease.

♦ Sickle Cell Trait

It is understood that people who only receive a defective gene from one parent (hemoglobin S) have a sickle cell disease. They may have no symptoms or have symptoms that are diminished.

♦ Hemoglobin SS disease

The most common type of sickle cell anemia is hemoglobin SS disease. It happens when you receive both parents’ copies of the hemoglobin S gene. Hemoglobin classified as Hb SS forms this. As the most extreme form of SCD, people with this form often encounter the worst symptoms at a greater rate as well.

♦ Hemoglobin SC disease

The second most common type of sickle cell disease is hemoglobin SC disease. It happens when you receive from one parent the Hb C gene and the other the Hb S gene. Hb SC people have identical signs to people with Hb SS. The anemia is less serious, nevertheless.

♦ Hemoglobin SB+ (beta) Thalassemia

Hemoglobin SB+ (beta) thalassemia influences gene development of beta globin. Red blood cell width is diminished as there is less beta protein produced. If the gene Hb S is hereditary, you will have beta-thalassemia of hemoglobin S. The symptoms aren’t as extreme.

♦ Hemoglobin SB 0 (Beta-zero) Thalassemia

The 4th form of sickle cell anemia is sickle beta-zero thalassemia. The gene beta globin is also involved. It has symptoms identical to those of Hb SS anemia. The symptoms of beta zero thalassemia, nevertheless, are more extreme often. A worse prognosis is correlated with it.

Sickle Cell Disease Complications

Sickle Cell Disease Complications

♦ Pregnancy Complications

On the part of sickle cell anemia and pregnancy, Sickle cell anemia, during pregnancy, can raise the threat of high blood pressure and blood clots. The threat of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight of babies may also be increased.

♦ Acute Chest Syndrome

Acute chest syndrome is another sickle cell anemia complication. This life-threatening condition may be caused by a lung infection or sickle cells blocking blood vessels in your lungs, contributing in chest pain, fever and trouble breathing. It could need medical emergency medication.

♦ Organ Damage

Sickle cells which obstruct the flow of blood to organs withdraw blood and oxygen from the affected organs. Blood is also extremely low in oxygen during sickle cell anemia. This lack of oxygen-rich blood, like your kidneys, liver and spleen, can harm nerves and organs and can be devastating.

♦ Stroke

Sickle cells can obstruct the flow of blood to your brain region. Stroke symptoms involve seizures, arm and leg weakness or numbness, abrupt speech disturbances, and loss of concentration. If any of these signs and symptoms are present in your infant, seek medical attention right away. A stroke can be lethal.

♦ Gallstones

A fluid named bilirubin is formed by the breakdown of red blood cells. In your body, a high level of bilirubin will contribute to gallstones.

♦ Pulmonary Hypertension

In individuals’ lungs, those with sickle cell anemia may experience high blood pressure. This condition affects adults generally. Popular symptoms of this disorder are shortness of breath and weakness, which can be deadly.

♦ Blindness

Small blood vessels that feed the eyes can be blocked by sickle cells. This can weaken your eye over period, and cause blindness.

♦ Priapism

Priapism is one of the sickle cell anemia risk factors. Men with sickle cell anemia may have excruciating, long-lasting erections in this state. Sickle cells, which can contribute to inadequacy over period, can obstruct the blood vessels in the penis.

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Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia

Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Anemia

For sickle cell disease, all infants in the U.S. are tested. In your amniotic fluid, pre-birth assessment looks for the sickle cell gene. To diagnose sickle cell disease, one or more of the aforementioned techniques can also be used in kids and adults.

♦ Blood tests

To look for SCD, multiple blood tests may be used:

  1. Sickle solubility tests look for Hb S to be present.
  2. Blood films may display RBCs that occur as cells that have been irregularly contracted.
  3. In the spectrum of 6 to 8 grams per deciliter, blood counts can show an elevated Hb level.

♦ Detailed Patient History

This disorder also first shows up in the hands and feet as chronic pain. Also, patients may suffer from:

  • Anemia
  • Heart problems
  • Ulcers of the legs
  • Growth problems
  • Respiratory infections
  • Severe pain in the bones
  • Painful enlargement of the spleen

♦ Hb Electrophoresis

Another approach for sickle cell anemia diagnosis is Hb Electrophoresis. There is still a need for Hb electrophoresis to validate the diagnosis of sickle cell disease. It analyses the various blood types of hemoglobin.

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Sickle Cell Disease Treatment


On the part of the treatment of sickle cell anemia, there are a variety of different options:

  1. Intravenous fluid rehydration allows red blood cells to revert to a normal condition. When you’re dehydrated, the red blood cells are more prone to deform and assume the sickle shape.
  2. The treatment of underlying or related infections is a significant aspect of crisis management, since a sickle cell crisis may arise from the stress of an infection. As a complication of a crisis, an infection can also occur.
  3. Blood transfusions enhance oxygen and nutrient transport as required. Packed red cells are collected and delivered to patients from blood donations.
  4. Through a mask, supplemental oxygen is provided. It makes it simpler to breathe and increases blood levels of oxygen.
  5. During a sickle crisis, pain relief is used to alleviate the pain. Over-the-counter medicine or strong prescription pain medication such as morphine may be required.
  6. (Droxia, Hydrea) helps improve fetal hemoglobin development. The number of blood transfusions may decrease.
  7. Immunizations can assist in infection prevention. In patients, immunity appears to be lower.

Sickle Cell Anemia Prevention

Seeing a genetic counselor before attempting to conceive will help you appreciate the risk of raising a child with sickle cell anemia if you are carrying the sickle cell trait. Probable medications, protective initiatives and reproductive choices may be clarified as well.

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